About the Program

Leonard D. Schaeffer Government Service Fellowship logo

About the Program

The Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service is pleased to partner with Leonard D. Schaeffer and the national Schaeffer Fellowship program to deliver high-quality enrichment experiences to UC Berkeley undergraduates. The Schaeffer Fellowship is a national program administered at the University of Southern California and encompassing five participating universities: UC Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, UVA, and USC. Since 2015, the Fellowship has supported hundreds of undergraduates in over 160 different government offices and agencies.

Schaeffer Fellows represent a diversity of backgrounds, political perspectives, and academic disciplines. Common among them is their interest in learning more about public service and the role of government. While not all Schaeffer Fellows will pursue a career in government, the program creates the opportunity for participants to become engaged citizens and develop an informed view of government service and operations.

Fellows are required to meet all program expectations and attend all events as detailed by the Matsui Center and the national fellowship program.

Summer Internship

Schaeffer Fellows spend the winter and spring independently securing a summer government internship. Internships can be at any level of government (local, state, or federal) and can be located anywhere in the United States. During the summer, Schaeffer Fellows work at minimum 30 hours per week for 10 weeks in their internship office. Fellows are expected to start their Internships prior to attending the Schaeffer Summit.

Recent Schaeffer Fellows have interned in the offices of U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, CA State Senator Nancy Skinner, the San Francisco Planning Department, County of Marin Public Defender's Office, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and more.

Program Benefits

Ten UC Berkeley Schaeffer Fellows are selected annually to join a national cohort of 50 Schaeffer Fellows from five universities. The cohort participates in a robust summer program alongside full-time internships focused on understanding public service, networking, and preparing transferable skills for a professional career in any field.

Living Stipend

Schaeffer Fellows receive a living stipend of $5,500 disbursed 3-4 times during the summer to afford summer living expenses. Fellows have discretion over use of the stipend, which is intended to support relocation costs and summer housing.

Alumni Mentor

Our staff pairs each Schaeffer Fellow with a UC Berkeley alum. Fellows meet with their mentor 3-4 times during the summer to reflect on the internship experience and discuss future career goals.

Schaeffer Fellows Summit

Each Fellow receives full funding to attend the Schaeffer Fellows Summit in late June in Washington, D.C. The 3-day summit is designed to enhance the internship experience and support career preparation through professional development and public service leadership lessons. Attendees build relationships with Fellows from all five participating universities and engage with prominent leaders and program alumni from various sectors.

Membership in Online Community

All Schaeffer Fellows gain access to a private virtual program hub to network, find event information, and access digital resources. The online platform is open to program alumni, partner university staff, and other professional partners. The national program also provides a Resource Guide with tools to support professional development.

Program Dates

  • Late January: UC Berkeley Schaeffer Fellows Welcome Luncheon
  • Winter/Spring: Fellows seek out and secure a summer government internship (by April 2024)
  • Late April: Schaeffer Fellows National Virtual Orientation
  • RRR Week: UC Berkeley Cohort Celebration
  • Late May: Internships commence
  • Late June: Schaeffer Fellows Summit in Washington, D.C.
  • August: Internships conclude
  • Fall 2024: Schaeffer Fellows Recognition Event